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An Exploratory Study of Allied Health Students' Experiences of Electronic Medical Records During Placements
Background Allowing students to access and document in electronic medical records (eMRs) during clinical placements is viewed as critical for ensuring that graduates have a high level of digital proficiency prior to entering the workforce. Limited studies have explored student access to eMRs in health disciplines outside of medicine and nursing.
Objective Our main objective was to examine allied health students' experiences and perceptions of the opportunity to develop eMR competencies during their placement, across a range of allied health disciplines and placement settings.
Methods An explanatory sequential design was used, comprising a quantitative survey (n = 102) followed by qualitative semi-structured interviews (n = 6) with senior allied health students to explore their experiences and perceptions of eMR access during placements.
Results Of the 93 students who responded to the question about their placement eMR, nine (10%) reported their placement site did not use an eMR and four students reported that they were not allowed to access the eMR during their placement. Most students (64%, 54 out of 84) accessed the system using their own credentials, but 31% (26 out of 84) used someone else's log-in and password. Students were satisfied with the eMR training and support received while on placement, but there was significant variability across sites on the level of training and support provided. All students believed that eMR access was beneficial for learning and preparation for work, improved delivery of care, taking ownership of work, and feeling responsible for patient care.
Conclusion Providing students with access to eMRs during placements is fundamental to the development of a student's professional identity and to recognizing their role in the delivery of interprofessional patient care. For graduates to be equipped to effectively contribute to multi-disciplinary care in a digital health environment, universities need to work with practice partners to standardize and formalize eMR access, registration, training, and support, and to provide students with early exposure and training on eMRs in university courses.
Protection of Human and Animal Subjects
The study was performed in compliance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki on Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects and was reviewed by the University of Sydney's Human Research Ethics Committee (#2020/427).
Received: 20 September 2021
Accepted: 10 February 2022
06 April 2022 (online)
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